Iowa Healthiest State Farm to School - Child picking strawberries

Farm to School

Farm to school enriches the connection communities have with fresh, healthy food and local food producers by changing food purchasing and education practices at schools and preschools.

Students gain access to healthy, local foods as well as education opportunities such as school gardens, cooking lessons and farm field trips. Farm to school empowers children and their families to make informed food choices while strengthening the local economy and contributing to vibrant communities.



Local foods are purchased, promoted and served in the cafeteria, as a snack, or a taste-test.

Child on Farm


Students participate in education activities related to agriculture, food, health or nutrition.


School Gardens

Students engage in hands-on learning through gardening.   Students then get to eat what they grow!

There are many ways to implement “Farm-to-School” and it does not just mean serving local foods as a part of the meal line. Ideas include:

  • Invite a local farmer, chef or have food service staff present an activity or talk to students about a food and how it is grown.
  • Plan nutrition education activities, such as Harvest of the Month, featuring a local food product that is in season.
  • Collaborate with teachers to plan an outdoor garden plot or container gardening activity.
  • Encourage the use of local foods as a healthy school fundraiser or a feature at a special event.

2019 Iowa Farm to School Conference

June 21-22 in Pella, Iowa

Farm to school activities in Iowa are helping put local food on school meal trays, supporting Iowa farmers, and connecting students to local food systems through school gardens and nutrition education activities. Want to learn more about how farm to school works, or ready to take your farm to school activities to the next level? Join us at the 2019 Iowa Farm to School Conference, June 21-22, at Central College in Pella, IA.

Workshop tracks, keynotes, field trips and intensive courses will be offered over two days to help you build new skills in local procurement strategy, farm to school curriculum, and community partnerships and collaborations. New this year! Two additional tracks will be focused on topics for high school student leaders and early childhood practitioners. Save the dates now, and stay tuned for the full conference program, registration and scholarship information in March. 


For more information about Farm-to School programs and initiatives: